A Discovery of Strangers by Rudy Wiebe

By Rudy Wiebe

A Discovery of Strangers tells of the assembly of 2 civilizations – the 1st come upon of the nomadic Dene individuals with Europeans – in an resourceful reconstruction of John Franklin’s first map-making day trip in 1819—21 in what's now the Northwest Territories. on the middle of the radical is a love tale among twenty-two-year-old midshipman Robert Hood, the Franklin expedition’s artist, and a fifteen-year-old Yellowknife lady identified to the British as Greenstockings. a countrywide bestseller, released additionally in Germany and China, Wiebe’s first novel in 11 years and his 12th paintings of fiction received him his moment Governor General’s Award for Fiction on the age of sixty, over robust pageant from Margaret Atwood and Alice Munro.

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For years the childhood memory of the oldest Tetsot’ine has told stories about Whites, and the farthest northern arm of their great lake Tucho has occasionally fumbled such a blanched body out onto its black sand. Indeed, well beyond the story memories of living grandmothers, it is told that children saw strange wood-chips dancing on the Desnede River, thin, curled chips that could not have been cut by a stone or copper axe. So sometimes, deep in the sleepy winter around warm fires, the elders tell the story of Jumping Marten, a woman so desirable she was stolen by enemies from the east.

Many of the Dene nations saw him, and named him Long Neck, his bandy legs and ridiculous clothes, and saw how he ate thick meat four times a day but fed his paddle-slaves nothing but fish no bigger than a person’s hand. He made them paddle him north fast, and then immediately turn around and paddle him back south again, up Dehcho, even harder — as if something truly terrifying had met him at the edge of the Everlasting Ice, and he knew it had started to chase him for the rest of his life. But now, in the regular cycle of Tetsot’ine seasons, These English have arrived, and the youngest person will discover that they and their paddle-slaves stepping so easily out of three huge birchbark canoes are impossible to forget.

If that happened, they themselves would become second wives, or third, and some of them might be happy for that too — after all, what woman wants to carry alone the weight of one man’s clutching, violent necessity for attention? ” And her tone, as much as their knowledge of her ravaged face bent aside, silences them. “Yes, it is,” Angélique answers. She is a Person from south of Deninu, but her husband is Twospeaker, the mixed-blood Pierre St. Germain who speaks Tetsot’ine and French and Dogrib and English too; what he knows about Whites, Angélique knows as well.

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